Eurasian Tree Sparrow
At a Glance
Brought from Germany, about 20 of these birds were released in St. Louis in 1870. The population took hold there, and they might have spread except that the House Sparrow, seemingly more aggressive and adaptable, reached the St. Louis area at about the same time. Eurasian Tree Sparrows are still found in parts of Missouri and Illinois, and have reached southeastern Iowa, but they are fairly local in farmland and suburbs. The tougher House Sparrow may keep them out of other areas.
All bird guide text and rangemaps adapted from Lives of North American Birds by Kenn Kaufman© 1996, used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Old World Sparrows, Perching Birds
Fields, Meadows, and Grasslands, Shrublands, Savannas, and Thickets, Urban and Suburban Habitats
Great Lakes, Plains
Direct Flight, Flitter
Range & Identification
Migration & Range Maps
Some northern populations in Eurasia are migratory, but those in North America are permanent residents.
6" (15 cm). Both sexes resemble male House Sparrow, but have a brown crown (not gray), black ear spot on white cheek, and usually a smaller black bib.
About the size of a Robin
Black, Brown, Gray, Tan, White
Notched, Rounded, Square-tipped
Songs and Calls
Loud chirping, similar to that of House Sparrow.
Farmland, towns. In North America, fairly local in open country with scattered bushes and trees, also in some suburban and city areas. In Europe and Asia, found in many kinds of semi-open habitats, woodland edges, towns, farms.
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4-6, rarely up to 8. White to grayish white, marked with brown. Incubation is by both parents, about 13-14 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 12-14 days after hatching, may be fed by parents for another week. One pair of adults may raise 2 or 3 broods per year.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 12-14 days after hatching, may be fed by parents for another week. One pair of adults may raise 2 or 3 broods per year.
Forages mostly while hopping on the ground. May also feed up in shrubs or trees at times. Often forages in small flocks.
Mostly seeds and insects. Diet in North America is not known in detail, but undoubtedly includes the seeds of various weeds and grasses, also waste grain in fields. Also eats many insects, perhaps especially in summer.
Some adults may remain in pairs at all seasons, or pairs may form well before nesting season starts. Nest: Placed inside a cavity, such as a natural hollow in tree, old woodpecker hole, birdhouse, or hole in building or under eaves. Unlike House Sparrow, seldom or never builds nest in open branches. Nest (probably built by both parents) is a bulky mass of grass, weeds, straw, trash, sometimes lined with feathers.
Small population in North America more or less stable, probably has little impact on native birds. In Eurasia, widespread and abundant.
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect the range of the Eurasian Tree Sparrow. Learn even more in our Audubon’s Survival By Degrees project.
Climate Threats Facing the Eurasian Tree Sparrow
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.